Baca v. Berry, No. 14-2174 (10th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Several Albuquerque residents sued Mayor Richard Berry in his official capacity as Mayor of Albuquerque in state court over the City’s redistricting plan enacted after the 2010 census. This case arose out of an award of attorneys’ fees imposed as a sanction on attorneys who brought a voting-rights lawsuit on the residents' behalf against the Mayor. After dismissing the case, the district court found the attorneys unreasonably multiplied proceedings in what it called a meritless case and sanctioned them under 28 U.S.C. 1927. They argued the award was an abuse of discretion. The Mayor cross-appealed, arguing the court abused its discretion by declining to award fees under several other provisions the Mayor raised as grounds for sanctions. The Tenth Circuit reviewed the case and concluded that most of the attorneys’ arguments lacked merit. However, the Court vacated the award of fees and remanded for the trial court to consider whether a different trigger for the imposition of sanctions was appropriate.